John of the Cross: July 2003 Archives

Ascent Study VIII--An Excursion into Dark Night of the Soul

Last month's reading leads very naturally into the brief sojourn we will take into Dark Night of the Soul. Please read Dark Night of the Soul chapters 1-3 (pp. 361-367)

Chapter 1

1. What does Saint John of the Cross intend to discuss in the next seven chapters?

What does Saint John say distinguishes beginners from proficients?

2. How does Saint John liken the beginner to a little child? What part does God play in the beginner's prayer?

3. Why are beginners in such need of consolations from God? Why is the work of beginners so feeble?

Chapter 2

1. What are some results of the secret pride beginners take in their prayer?

2. What part does the Devil play in this? What are the results of this?

3. Why is it important to listen to and obey the guidance of your spiritual director? What is disobedience a sign of?

4. Why do beginners become envious? What do they do as a result?

5. What is the wrong motivation for asking God to remove our faults?

6. How does one advance and avoid the worst of the imperfections of pride?

7. What do beginners advancing in perfection desire and require?

8. Where are these souls perfected?

Chapter 3

1. What is spiritual avarice? What are its signs and results?

2. How does the well-disposed soul, with the grace of God, avoid these imperfections?

3. What is the only source of purification from these faults?

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Yes, so quickly that time has rolled around again. After this little lesson, I'll probably ask my group to take a look at the first portion of Dark Night of the Soul because it very effectively lists the traps and pitfalls of beginners in prayer.

Ascent of Mount Carmel VII The Pane of Glass and the Light

Read Book II Chapters 5-6 (pgs. 162-168)

Chapter 5

1-2. What does John of the Cross imply about the state of Union with God?
Read the footnote carefully. What are the chief distinctions of Union? (If you wish to understand this better, read pages 576-577, 641-642, and 713-715; however, it is not necessary to do so.)

3. What is substantial union? Why is it important? What is the Union of Likeness? How does one achieve it?

4. What is the importance of ridding oneself of creatures?

6. Explain what St. John of the Cross means by the Light and the pane of glass.

What does it imply about the necessity for detachment and purification?

7. How do we best describe the transformation of the soul in union with God?

8-9. What is the necessary preparation for union? What does St. John mean by his example of the painting?

10-11. Are all states of union the same? On what is any degree of union based? What happens to those who do not reach the purity the are capable of?

Chapter 6
1-4 How are the three faculties related to the theological virtues? What does each virtue do to each faculty?

6-8. What must we do to each of the faculties? Why?

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This page is a archive of entries in the John of the Cross category from July 2003.

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